Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 2014-07-10 05:11:34
Take Me Out to the Ballgame Social Outings Can Help Strengthen the Lions’ Team It’s that time of year when millions of fans of America’s pastime are rooting for the home team and enjoying peanuts and Cracker Jack. The Knoxville Tri-County Lions are among them, cheering for the Tennessee Smokies in an idyllic location near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This “nine-inning vacation,” as Lion Ken Moffett calls it, is an annual tradition for the Lions and their families. “The fellowship among good friends is a modest reward for the many hours of service we perform throughout the year,” says Moffett. Moffett is among many Lions who know that sharing good times together is a vital part of a happy and harmonious club. Although Lions are adept at having fun while serving, there’s something to be said for planning purely social activities from time to time. “The opportunity to wind down, relax and enjoy time together helps us maintain that ability to do the sometimes difficult and challenging service work that takes up so much of our time together throughout the year. These fun times help us rejuvenate, recharge our batteries and have a good balance in our club activities,” explains Moffett, a 35-year Lion. Set the Lineup The possibilities of what type of social gathering to plan are as varied as Lions clubs are. “There’s no magic formula for fun. It’s mainly about doing different things as a group,” says Stephen Balzac, a psychology professor and president of the management consulting firm, 7 Steps Ahead (7stepsahead.com) in Massachusetts. “There are plenty of old standbys that work well: barbecues, a day at the beach, playing board games, going to a play, hiking and so on. Don’t look for the perfect event. Rather, try different things and figure out what members enjoy.” The Woburn Middlesex Lions in Massachusetts discovered their favorite social get-together almost by accident. “About three years ago, one of our past presidents got some new martini glasses and wanted to show them off, so she invited us over for martinis. We had so much fun that we decided to do this on a regular basis,” says District 33 N Governor Jeanne Farrow. The Lions take turns hosting quarterly martini nights, with anywhere from six to 20 members attending. Know What’s in Play While enjoying that picnic, wine tasting or dinner theater, should shop talk be taboo? “I would advise not to worry about it. If you make a ‘no business talk’ rule, people may end up thinking more about it simply because they’re consciously making an effort not to talk about it,” says Balzac. Farrow agrees that relaxing is key. “Our social outings give us a great outlet for discussion, Lions-related and otherwise. We can solve all the problems of the world on a martini night.” Find a Heavy Hitter To ensure a smooth and truly fun outing from start to finish, appoint a member to oversee preparations. “Find someone who’s especially interested to head up planning the event, handle ticket purchases if necessary and any other details. We need ‘fun-raisers’ just as much as fundraisers!” points out Moffett. Swing for the Fences An organized outing will help create a carefree, easygoing atmosphere, helping clubs recharge those batteries. But be prepared for those unexpected moments of Lions serendipity. Moffett explains, “At one of our baseball game outings, our club president found himself being interviewed on the Jumbotron just before the game started and got to talk about the service Lions perform in the area. What a great unplanned PR opportunity!”
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